By Michelle Marchante
Russia’s track and field athletes will not be competing in the 2016 Rio Olympics as The Court for the Arbitration of Sport has rejected the appeal made by 67 athletes and the Russian Olympic Committee and has decided to honor the November 2015 decision of the International Association of Athletics Federations.
Back in November 2015, the International Association of Athletics Federations suspended Russia’s track and field events following a government involved doping scandal, which according to the World Anti-Doping Agency reported a “deeply rooted culture of cheating at all levels” by athletes, coaches, laboratory personnel, doctors and the state itself.
During this scandal, NBC News reported that the World Anti-Doping Agency discovered 312 positive tests lab workers never reported to them by orders of Russia’s minister of sports. Investigators, as reported by CNN, also said that athletes used false identities, frequently bribed doping control officers and were given notice of out-of-competition tests.
Russia has not taken this decision lightly with its sport minister demanding that the IAAF be disbanded.
“It’s time to disband the IAAF,” Vitaly Mutko, Russia’s Sports Minister said on Twitter, as reported by CNN. “Corrupt judges! How can you deprive clean sportsmen of their dream, and what’s more WADA didn’t present either facts or evidence.”
According to the TASS news agency, Yelena Isinbayeva, a Russian two-time Olympic pole vault champion called the decision a “funeral of athletics.”
IAAF President Sebastian Coe said in a statement that while the IAAF is “thankful” that their ruling and anti-doping code have been supported by CAS, this is not a day for “triumphant statements.”
“I didn’t come into this sport to stop athletes from competing,” Coe’s statement read. “It is our federation’s instinctive desire to include, not exclude. Beyond Rio the IAAF Taskforce will continue to work with Russia to establish a clean safe environment for its athletes so that its federation and team can return to international recognition and competition.”
According to BBC News, Russia’s athletes might still have the opportunity to compete in the Olympics as neutrals but the International Olympic Committee is looking into banning all Russian competitors from the Rio Games following a “second report” of the doping scandal.
If the IOC chooses to ban all Russian athletes from competing, it would be the first time in the Olympics history that an entire country would be banned from participating due to doping.
We will continue to update this story as it progresses.
Image retrieved from Flickr.